Watching Together

Once again, families and friends gathered around the TV this month for the annual Super Bowl, one of the last big communal viewing events — which are getting rarer all the time.

With streaming services offering so many choices to satisfy individual tastes — programs that are available anytime — we are all watching different things, viewing our own individual, curated slate of programming. Indeed, the phenomenon has grown since movie theaters, the biggest venues for watching together, have been under siege during the pandemic. Even when we are watching the same program on streaming, it’s tempting to jump ahead and binge, cutting off the ability to commune because we don’t want to spoil the experience for others. 

I miss watching movies and series together. It’s just not the same when I’m laughing or crying by myself. Often, when I finish viewing something, I find myself yearning to talk, make a joke about it, critique it or praise it, but I’m in my own bubble. My family and friends are also all in their silos watching their own thing.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Digital services have tried to replicate the communal viewing experience with various watch- together features, but it’s still hard to clear everyone’s schedule and get them to decide on a program. It’s been a long time since we’ve had to agree on what to rent at the video store because there’s nothing on television. Seemingly everything is on television. The choices are endless.

Movies Anywhere Announces Watch Together Feature

Cloud movie library service Movies Anywhere has added a new co-viewing experience that allows users to view a film together from different locations.

Called Watch Together, the feature allows for synced co-viewing with no plugins or second screen. Users can watch anywhere they have the Movies Anywhere app. All movies available through the app are eligible for Watch Together.

“The experience is unique in that it offers fully integrated, seamless co-viewing across mobile, web and most connected smart TVs; and Movies Anywhere is the only app that allows purchased movie collections to be synced,” according to the service.

Viewers can share a synced experience with up to nine others. Hosts invite guests to view a title in their library via a “room code.” Guests must have the same title in their library or accept a “Screen Pass” via another Movies Anywhere feature currently in beta that allows members to share certain titles in their library with up to three people. The host controls playback. Viewers can use custom emojis in real-time to react or ask the host to pause, rewind or fast-forward.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Bonus features are not currently available via Watch Together.

Movies Anywhere recently added to the Screen Pass feature to allow the Screen Pass recipient to choose an eligible movie from a sender’s library and watch it instantly.

More information is here.